Ian Thomas is used to tough jobs. The former children’s services director at Rotherham council is now chief executive of Lewisham, a London borough facing huge financial pressure, including a £15.6m overspend on children’s services.
Only two areas of public service better reflect the UK population: social work and the NHS. Latest figures show that around one-fifth of social workers and NHS staff are from BAME backgrounds, although given that 42% of medics are not white, diversity in non-clinical NHS jobs is very much lower.
The lack of diversity is even more acute at senior levels. Judges, senior civil servants, chief constables and NHS chief executives are still predominantly white. In local government, according to last year’s Colour of Power report, none of the 108 chief executives of England’s largest councils was a BAME person.
Britain’s public finances recorded their first July surplus in three years, as the country’s economic upturn spurred the strongest income tax receipts for the month since records began in 1997.
Finance minister George Osborne welcomed Friday’s official figures, which also showed July was the 12th successive month of falling year-to-date public sector net borrowing, excluding banks.
Public finances have traditionally been in surplus in July, but tepid wage growth in the previous two years depressed the usual surge in payments from individuals filing self-assessed income tax returns.
The Office for National Statistics reported a public finance surplus, excluding banks, of 1.29 billion pounds ($2 billion) in July, almost exactly as forecast in a Reuters poll.
State coffers were boosted by 18.5 billion pounds of income tax receipts — the biggest intake for July on record — and up almost a billion pounds compared with a year ago.
Economists said the figures suggest the government could undershoot its borrowing forecast for the year of 69.5 billion pounds — or 3.7 percent of economic output.
“If this trend persists over the remaining eight months of the fiscal year, this year’s deficit would be 67 billion pounds,” Samuel Tombs, economist at Capital Economics said.
“Even so, with eight months of the fiscal year still to go and often large revisions to early borrowing estimates, it is too soon to conclude that the Chancellor is meeting his fiscal plans with room to spare and could therefore reduce the scale of the austerity measures set to hit the economy.”
British wages have risen far more slowly in recent years than before the financial crisis. A move back towards historical wage hikes is one of the considerations for the Bank of England before it starts to tighten policy.
A separate survey on Friday showed annual pay rises in Britain remained stuck at 2 percent in the three months to July, with little sign they will pick up soon.
Among other ONS figures, public sector net borrowing totalled 24.0 billion pounds in first four months of the 2015/16 tax year, down 23 percent compared with the April-July period of last year.
In the 2014/15 financial year, the deficit stood at 4.9 percent of gross domestic product, half its level in 2010 when Osborne’s Conservative Party first took power, but still bigger than the hole in the finances of most other advanced economies.
Public sector net debt, excluding state-controlled banks, was 1.505 trillion pounds in June, equivalent to 80.8 percent of GDP.
Osborne is aiming to start bringing the ratio down in the 2015/16 financial year after it rose sharply following the financial crisis.
Whether the changes being put forward are good or bad is not the point here.
IDS is part of a demorcratically elected government and if anyone disagrees with its policies, they have the opportunity to cast their vote for someone else at the next election. Who that will be is a question, as very few of the previous governments have done much good for the country.
The civil servants are unelected, they are employed by their respective departments and are there no matter which party is in government. If they wish to decide which policies go through or not, they should put themselves up for election, so the voting public can elect them. If elected they will have a mndate for what they are doing.
In the real world i.e. employed in the private sector they would not be allowed to do what they are doing. They would be up for disaplinary action and could lose their jobs. The time as come when those persons employed in the public sector who feel they are in charge, were brought back to the realities of life.
For too many years some civil servants have been coccooned in the Civil Service and feel they are superior to the rest of the employed of the country. Unfortunately successive governments, for too many years, have allowed this to happen. Some years ago there 2 comedy programes on television Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister, while written for TV entertainment, I feel a good part of the content of the programes were true in real life.
You may feel the civil servants are right to be doing what they are doing, but is this not the job of the Opposition in Government, currently being under taken by the Labour Party.
I feel the civil servants should do what they are paid to do and not become involved in the politics of governing the country.